A Superior Court judge will allow Brasstown's annual Possum Drop to go ahead despite opposition from animal rights activists.
Judge Allen Baddour ruled in favor of the General Assembly's new animal display bill, which allows the state Wildlife Resources Commission to issue a permit for the event.
Each New Year's Eve, Brasstown revelers catch a wild opossum and lower it to the ground at midnight in a plexi-glass box. After the opossum is fed, it's released back into the wild.
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals says the state is shirking its duties in allowing an opossum to be caught and subjected to loud noises, claiming it is likely to die of shock afterward.
Possum Drop organizer Clay Logan says people during the Great Depression subsisted on opossums, and that the animal should be a revered American symbol, like the Bald Eagle.
"I don't know of an eagle saving anybody's life, but I know the possum has, so we do a little tribute to the possum. And, you know, that's the reason we picked him, is because he is an unsung hero."
Logan says he has accommodated some of PETA's complaints, keeping the opossum away from fireworks and a muzzle loader salute.
PETA plans to appeal the lawsuit.